The Race for the Galaxy card game won Boardgamegeek‘s Golden Geek Award for best card game. Everyone else loved this game, so I wanted to be one of the first kids on my block to try it, too. Since it’s very similar to another card game that I love, San Juan, I was especially excited to try it.
Race for the Galaxy is everything an adult card game fan is looking for. The complex game play involves plenty of strategy with a little bluffing thrown in for good measure.
A game of Race for the Galaxy goes something like this: each player builds a galactic civilization using game cards that stand for planets or technological and social developments. The game is broken up into rounds that contain five possible moves. Each round, each player in the game picks one of seven different action cards at random. Only the game phases pulled and shown can occur that round.
I won’t go into each phase, but here’s a look at one of them, “Develop.” In the “Develop” phase, each player has a chance to pick a development from their hand, reveal it to everyone, then add it to their tableau. That player will have to discard a certain number of cards depending on the development’s cost.
Each phase has its own set of rules and possibilities. Ultimately, the winner in Race for the Galaxy is the player who does the best job at managing her cards, is lucky during the round phase and bonus card selections, and has the skills and bluff to build the game’s biggest galactic power. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins.
Race for the Galaxy retails for around $30, though you can find lots of sale prices from sites like Amazon. I found a copy this Christmas for just $20 through Amazon, new in the packaging. It makes a great gift for fans of strategy games, fantasy, sci-fi, or board gaming.
Several expansions are available now, and they make it possible to play with additional players, as well as providing additional in-game options for the players.